It’s #InternationalWomensDay – perfect timing to crawl out of my current winter depression/anxiety cycle and work out my fingers to celebrate my sisters!
A few weeks ago a group of my Asian American friends and I posted a photo of ourselves with a nameless white man to start a slow awareness campaign of the power of women doing gospel work. It was a tongue-in-cheek take at another conference featuring one black man in a sea of white men, and personally it was a moment to consider how much boat-rocking I was actually willing to do knowing that a photo like ours would raise questions about exclusivity because instead of all white men we were sharing a photo of all Korean American women.
On the surface it can look like two sides of the same coin but actually it’s not that at all. We don’t exist on the same coin. White men (and women) still hold much of the power in the Christian Industrial Complex so comparing our motley crew to a promotional photo for a well-attended, well-funded, organizationally-backed and branded conference isn’t the same as our photo. I will mention, however, it sure was fun figuring out if we were going to do this and how we would pull it off because what are the chances that all of us would actually ever share the same space as presenters, speakers, and leaders?
The follow-up? Removing the anonymous white man (stock photo) to present this:
From L to R, back row: Helen Lee, Erina Kim-Eubanks, Erna Hackett, Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Gail Song Bantum and front row: Sarah Shin, yours truly, Irene Cho, Angie Hong, and Jenny Yang. We are writers, authors, pastors, theologians, artists, worship leaders, ordained and not, activists, and incredible. We all love Jesus and do incredible work and ministry together for the gospel and because of the gospel. And we also recognize that while we don’t carry the same influence and power as some of our white sisters and brothers, we do have influence and the ability to elevate and cheer on one another.
My list of women to celebrate on this #InternationalWomensDay is long but for now I want to celebrate this short list of #WomenForTheGospel #WFTG #W4TG because we share both “han” and “jung” both of which I will have to explain later.
Who are you celebrating and elevating today????
i love how you all decided to bring attention to something that is in desperate need of unpacking. i’ve been spending a lot of time over the past year trying to figure out where and how i fit (black, divorced, female, single mother, etc. and so on) in my church and the larger faith community, not to mention trying to decide if i even have anything worthwhile to contribute. i’m continuously inspired to see other women of color raising their voices in public spaces and sharing their experiences and truth. it’s a reminder to me that it’s maybe not so much about figuring out where i fit, and more about being bold and speaking out exactly where i am…exactly as i am.
all of that to say, i’m celebrating and elevating the women who, whether they know it or not, give me the courage to be the woman i am. thank you for being one of those women.
Excellent points! So where is the photo? It’s great to know about the individuals, but you piqued my interest in the original picture you mentioned.
Sorry–I only saw the article on email. When I went to your blog, the pictures were there. My bad! So you can just not accept my dumb comment. 🙂